Disney buys back distribution rights to Avengers, Iron Man 3. Plus: Superman lawsuit update. Superman casting rumors. Transformers 3 plot and more! It's your Comics2Film 10.10.19!
The tricky thing about licensing product tie-ins for movies is that elements of the movie get leaked when the licensees start promoting their spin-off products.
Such is the cast with the kids book Transformers 3: Push Pops which ties into to Transformers: The Dark of the Moon and was recently listed for pre-order on Amazon.com. The description for the book reveals the general plot of the movie:
"The Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Sideswipe led by Optimus Prime, are back in action, taking on the evil Decepticons, who are determined to avenge their defeat in 2009's Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. In this new movie, the Autobots and Decepticons become involved in a perilous space race between the U.S. and Russia, and once again human Sam Witwicky has to come to the aid of his robot friends. There's new characters too, including a new villain in the form of Shockwave, a longtime Transformers character who rules Cybertron while the Autobots and Decepticons battle it out on Earth."
Thanks to Blastr for the lead.
From a press release...
An all-new, action-packed season of The Super Hero Squad Show makes a sensational return to Cartoon Network! All of the Super Heroes you know and love are flying, smashing and clawing their way back to the small screen with 26 more full-length episodes beginning on October 23rd! The Super Hero Squad Show is a family-friendly, animated series featuring super-stylized versions of Marvel’s most popular characters, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Wolverine.
Marvel Television has gathered the hottest superstar talent to voice the roles of the dynamic heroes and wicked villains in the second season of The Super Hero Squad Show. This list of who’s-who includes Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch (Glee) as Nebula; Emmy award winner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) as Nightmare; Adam West (1960s TV series Batman) as Nighthawk; Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as She-Hulk; and Emmy award nominated Ty Burrell (Modern Family) as Captain Marvel. In addition to this all-star line-up, your favorite voice talent is back for a second season, including Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants, Transformers, PowerPuff Girls) as Iron Man, Captain America and MODOK; Steve Blum (Wolverine and the X-Men, Hulk Vs., Ben 10) as Wolverine ; and Charlie Adler (Transformers, G.I Joe, Roccos Modern Life) as Dr. Doom.
"Marvel is extremely excited to bring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and many of your other favorite Marvel characters to Cartoon Network for the second season of The Super Hero Squad Show,” said Jeph Loeb, Executive Vice-President and Head of Marvel Television. “The first season delivered all the thrills, action and laughs that audiences just couldn’t get enough of. This season, Marvel has pulled out all the stops, from intergalactic and interdimensional travels to Emmy Award winning talent guest starring as some of Marvel’s most famous (and infamous) characters. From the first episode, you will be hooked.”
The Super Hero Squad Show’s second season takes viewers on action packed galactic adventures and over-the-top otherworld expeditions! Just when the Infinity Sword has been rebuilt, Doctor Doom is behind bars, and Villanville destroyed – a new evil threatens the universe… the space-conqueror THANOS! Determined to prove his superiority over his sister, the space-pirate NEBULA, Thanos sets out to collect the six INFINITY STONES. The stones will give him absolute power over the universe, so the Squad must stop Thanos from collecting them in his INFINITY GAUNTLET before it’s too late.
The latest round in the ongoing battle over the rights to Superman has been postponed. THR Esq is reporting that a key hearing that was slated to happen on Monday didn't happen as U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright has postponed any further actions on the case until a recently filed appeal had been resolved.
As regular readers are aware, the heirs of Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, represented by attorney Marc Toberoff have been seeking the return of the rights to DC Comics' most iconic character. The heirs have already reclaimed rights to certain aspects of the character and, according to Toberoff's interpretation of existing laws, they should reclaim full rights to the characters by 2013.
In an attempt to head off the suit, Warner Bros has filed suit directly against Toberoff, claiming he's manipulating the situation in order to bring the Superman character under his own control as intellectual property mogul. Toberoff defended himself seeking protection under California's anti-SLAPP laws.
Those laws are meant to curtail the use of the courtroom as a platform to intimidate your average citizen away from seeking justice. That is to say, a wealthy party could tie up in lesser party in expensive litigation that it knows it can't win, simply in hopes that the costliness of the litigation will deter any further action. Toberoff is claiming that Warner Bros' action against him are just that: meant to inflict financial damages against him to deter him from furthering the Superman case.
Subsequent to Toberoff's anti-SLAPP filing, Warner Bros amended their complaint against him ("slightly" according to THR Esq) to dodge the anti-SLAPP laws. This caused Toberoff to re-file his request for dismissal under anti-SLAPP regulations. The judge found Toberoff's filing to be moot in the face of the amended complaint by Warner Bros.
So now, Toberoff has appealed that last ruling, the one of the mooted filing. And Judge Wright has said that until that appeal is resolved, Warner Bros case against Toberoff is on hold. THR Esq says an appeal could take up to 18 months to resolve, but Warner will likely file to dismiss the appeal.
Now that the Superman movie has a director in Zack Snyder and an urgency to film due to the legal wrangling around the character, the rumor mill is winding up its casting choices.
There are three reports tipping actor Brandon Routh to return as the Man of Steel. First up, Harry Knowles at Ain't it Cool chatted with the actor in the summer, during a screening of Scott Pilgrim (in which Routh is hilarious). The former Superman told Knowles that Thomas Tull, head of Legendary Pictures, put him in touch with a physical trainer for the purpose of whipping him into Superman shape. Now, that was months before Snyder signed on and it'll be his prerogative about who to cast in the lead.
However, British gossip rag News of the World spoke with Snyder during his press for Legends of the Guardians. In a report summarized on Blastr, Snyder allegedly told them that fan support for Routh (buoyed by an online poll) has made the actor a contender to reclaim the tights in the new movie. Of course, its important to realize that News of the World routinely publishes bad info, especially with regards to movie casting. It's very possible they are putting maximum spin on Snyder's saying "I didn't realize there was such a groundswell [of support for Brandon Routh]!"
A third report comes from Moviehole.net who has demonstrated good contacts at Warner Bros in the past. They've also heard from "a producer friend" that Routh "is still in with a chance." Surprisingly, the same source says Armie Hammer is being considered. Hammer is currently appearing in The Social Network but blipped on fan radar after being cast at Batman in the ill-fated Justice League movie.
But Moviehole rightly points out that the casting net on Superman is likely wide at this point and there are lots of names being thrown around the war room at the moment. In other words, all this casting talk comes with the national rumor alert level set to red.
Before Walt Disney Studios earth-shattering acquisition of Marvel, Marvel had made a pact over the distribution of their upcoming slate of movies. Marvel was to produce Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and Paramount would be responsible for putting those movies into theaters.
Late yesterday, Disney, Par and Marvel jointly announced an agreement to grant the distribution rights for Avengers and Iron Man 3 to Disney. Par will retain their distribution rights to Thor and Cap which hit theaters next year. Paramount will also retain distribution rights (which are largely the home entertainment rights) to the first two Iron Man movies.
The cost of the deal? Disney is paying $115 for the transfer of rights to the other two.
Paramount will release Marvel Entertainment’s Thor and Captain America worldwide beginning on May 6 and July 22 of 2011, respectively. The Avengers will be licensed to Epix under Paramount’s existing pay television arrangement.
In related news Exhibitor Relations (via their Facebook page) has word that Disney has been given a release date of May 3, 2013 to Iron Man 3 .
One thing that many fans hoped for (C2F included) with the Disney merger is that the studio would broker deals with studios like Sony and Fox to consolidate the film rights to characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Ghost Rider under the Marvel umbrella. The above distribution deal with Paramount is quite a bit less thorny than those film rights arrangements might be, but perhaps there's hope that Spidey, Wolverine and the rest could start crossing over with the other Marvel heavyweights.
Rob M. Worley is the writer and creator of the all-new, all-cat kids comic book series Scratch9. Issues #1 and #2 are in stores now. Issue #1 is also available as a digital download via iVerse Media's iTunes app. Come see Rob at the Detroit Fanfare Comics Convention on October 30th and 31st!